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Community Commentary:

Supervisor doesn't support Legacy plan

March 24, 2010|By John Moorlach

The Daily Pilot’s March 23 article, “Proposal causes riddle,” revolves around whether the proposed Legacy Aviation Center hangar increases the footprint of John Wayne Airport.

My office has made a preliminary review of their proposal. Although it is not yet before the Orange County Board of Supervisors, the legislative body that oversees our county’s airport, I want to be on the record that I do not support the proposal at this time.

Allow me to address the history of this recent proposition, the process and the semantics. I am pro-business and appreciate inventive job-creating ideas. But, I’m also sensitive to long-term relationships and understanding between neighbors.

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Legacy approached the airport with an idea that they would buy a property on Airway Avenue, adjacent to the airport, and then develop a high-end corporate aircraft hangar facility.

They would then need access to the airport.

Alan Murphy, JWA’s director, informed them that he would not support a project that included a private property owner having direct access to the airport. There are a number of legal, regulatory and security issues that make that approach problematic.

Murphy also told them that if a project of this type were to proceed, the developer would need to give the property to the county. The transaction at that point would essentially be a county acquisition of the property necessary to build the proposed hangar.

By way of background, for JWA to acquire property for an aviation use such as the proposed hangar, it would need the approval of the municipal entity with jurisdiction over the property: the city of Costa Mesa.

Murphy made it clear to Legacy that there was no point to the county engaging in substantive discussions on the proposal until Legacy had talked with Costa Mesa to see if the city would support the project. The first of those discussions was at a City Council workshop last week.

Murphy informed Costa Mesa and Newport Beach that this is not an airport- or county-proposed project.

He also, quite correctly, told Legacy that even if they received Costa Mesa City Council support, the Board of Supervisors might not be in support of the proposal.

There have been no commitments made by either the county or the airport.

Based on this history, I would personally be very surprised if the Costa Mesa city staff or City Council supported the project.

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